How to Make Corn Dough Quesadillas

Quesadillas corn tortilla-1
In central México, corn dough quesadillas are sold in local markets or in the street sidewalks. They are filled with “hongo silvestre” (wild mushrooms) from the area, with Squash Blossoms, Huitlacoche, (corn fungus) , potatoes , Nopales (cactus leaves), green or red chorizo, melting cheese and sometimes using the blue corn dough instead of the white or yellow corn dough.
When I lived in the beautiful State of México we frequently traveled the Mexico-Toluca Highway in our way to México City. Stopping for a quick snack at “La Marquesa” was always mandatory. We couldn’t decide among the many different food stands selling Trout, Rabbit, Goat Stew and “Sopa de Hongos” (Mushroom broth). But the main attraction of these food stands are the colorful display of fillings for the quesadillas lined in a Clay Pot made in the nearby towns like Metepec. You can see a picture here.
Because squash blossoms and Huitlacoche are hard to find outside México, I made these quesadillas with mushrooms cooked Mexican-style to use as filling and cooked the quesadillas on traditional Griddle-Bake style. You can use your favorite filling.
Some of these instructions are based on Mrs. Diana Kennedy’s book, “My Mexican Kitchen”, an excellent resource with the basic techniques of Mexican cooking.
This recipe yields 12 small quesadillas.
For the filling:

  • 12 ounces fresh mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 Large tomato finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 “chiles serranos” finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil or lard
  • About 6 “Epazote” leaves chopped or a handful of cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  • For the Quesadillas:
  • 14 ounces of fresh corn masa or masa harina prepared according to package instructions.
  • 1 1/2 cup of “Oaxaca-style” string cheese, or any other melting cheese as Monterrey jack.
  • 1 1/2 cup of the filling

This is String Oaxacan cheese made in the USA, it looks a lot like the real thing but unfortunately it doesn’t taste the same.

Instructions for the filling:
1. In a saucepan heat the oil or lard and place the mushroom and chopped onion. Let them cook covered on a medium high heat for about 3 minutes. Uncover and let the liquid evaporated until the fat or oil starts frying the onion and mushrooms.
2. Add the chopped tomato and the garlic to the mushrooms. Let it cook for 3 minutes and add the epazote or cilantro. Keep cooking for 3 more minutes or until mixture is thick. Add salt to season.
Let it cool before using before using.

Instructions to assemble the quesadillas:
3. Divide the masa (corn dough) into 12 pieces and roll into balls. Cover with a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap.
4. Warm an un-greased skillet over medium heat.
5. Put one of the balls between to plastic sheets into a tortilla press and press out to form a tortilla.
6. Remove the top sheet of plastic and place on the skillet topping with a Tablespoon of the filling an some strings of cheese. You can top it with an Epazote leaf too.
7. Fold the dough in half to cover the filling. Seal the edges together if you wish. I don’t usually do it, but that is a personal preference.
8. Cook until brown spots form in the underside and turn it over and cook the other side for another 4 to 5 minutes. The quesadilla will be slightly crunchy on the surface but soft inside.
Serve hot.

Did you like the recipe? Please let me know in the comments section, do you have questions, or share the link with your friends. I hope you have an incredible time cooking! Provecho!

Mely Martinez, the cook at Mexico in my Kitchen!


  1. Ay Mely, cuantas ideas tan ricas. Veo la cocina mexicana REAL en tus recetas. Me encanta descubrir detallitos que no conocia. Como esto de poner el relleno en la tortilla cruda y luego cocerla con todo adentro. Que rico!

  2. Hola Silvia,
    Estas quesadillas tambien las puedes hacer fritas.


  3. That looks GORGEOUS. Can't wait to try it :)

  4. I'm eying up this recipe. I see using the local wild mushrooms is one way to do it, and button mushrooms may be at least somewhat like it, but I wonder how good it is with button mushrooms compared to the wild mushrooms from that eara. I'm contemplating what mushrooms would work in what ways in this recipe that would be as close as possible to what was used there. What wild mushrooms are traditionally used for this dish? If I can find out, I can see what I can forage for in my area to use as a substitution or possibly even the real thing.

    I also see Ustilago maydis is used, which I've had once. A very good and unique mushroom! I can't think of anything close to those (can you?).

    Sam Schaperow, B.S., M.S.

  5. Wow! I never made like this before!, I used to do first the tortilla then the quesadilla but they end up harder.. what a difference much better!

    I hope you can publish a book with your recipes.

  6. Nunca las habia hecho asi! primero hacia la tortilla y luego la quesadilla, que diferencia mucho mejor!

    OJala Sra. Mely que publique usted un libro de recetas.


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